OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma military veterans and their families have a new resource in Oklahoma City for mental health services.
It’s intended to provide confidential, high-quality behavior health care services and connections to local resources for post 9/11 veterans, service members and their families.
“I have had a far more challenging time with my invisible wounds than I did my physical,” said Ryan Pitts, a veteran who received the Medal of Honor for his service in Afghanistan.
Pitts says he and others knew services were available to help with their mental health – but they didn’t take advantage of them.
“Maybe some of that was stigma at that time, you know, or just youthful exuberance of thinking that we were tougher than we were really are,” he said.
Pitts finally went to the Cohen Veterans Network for help in 2019.
“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Pitts.
The Cohen Veterans Network has centers around the country, including a recently-opened location in Lawton.
This new one in South Oklahoma City will treat a variety of challenges such as anxiety, depression and PTSD.
It treats the whole military family. In fact, about 46% of clients are non-veterans.
The private-public partnership is one that state leaders say is valuable.
“We’re not having to, as a state, spend the $2 million to invest in this building,” said Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Sitt. “They’re all doing that privately. They’re only asking Oklahoma to partner on the ongoing operational cost.”
Pitts hopes when others hear his story , they’ll use these valuable resources.
“Looking back in hindsight, my biggest regret is that I didn’t ask for help sooner,” Pitts said.